Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Industrial Spam

I'm sure the folks at morpheusmedia won't mind my copying a post on their recent industrial spam blog. Great topic.

Hi, for confidentiality sake I won’t put my name up but you can see my email of course ;)

Industrial spam really concerns me. I completed a freelance job recently for someone who is sending thousands of emails out and apparently, in many cases, sending them over and over to the same people. I was really uncomfortable with this when I heard about it.

I gather the idea is to both give people a heads-up about their service, but it is also a war of attrition. If I am correct about who their target audience for this spam is, the primary reason they are getting away with few complaints is that the recipients have indicated in another forum an interest in the topic that the business service caters for. It’s a good guess many would be intrigued or at least sympathetic enough with the theme not to object.

Those who will violently object in a reply email rarely follow that up by making a formal complaint to a governing authority.

So, this comes down to an issue of ethics in part. Is the company branding as socially responsible? If they are then how do they justify their industrial spam against the known backdrop of increasing consumer resistance and objection to the practice.

Just because they can?

Vale Bernie Banton

A hero of the rights and health of workers and indeed the general public. Despite the ravages of his illness Bernie was never swayed from his path. A 4 billion dollar fund for victims of asbestos and, perhaps more importantly in the immediate term, ensuring various medications were placed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (and were thus affordable for the average family). In his acceptance speech on Saturday evening, our new PM praised Bernie. Our thanks must also go to the Banton family and of course our deepest condolences. It's bitter-sweet that individuals must work so hard for justice and then lose their lives however I am so very grateful Bernie saw justice finally achieved before he passed away. What courage and commitment he had to hang on those last days until he could be assured. Please rest now Bernie, you deserve it.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Film Buff's 100-1 Countdown

What incredible attention to detail the film buff who made this film had. The film shows clips that literally contain the numbers 100 down to 1. There are some intriguing twists. It's a longish film so be prepared for that or watch an excerpt. I can think of several interesting applications that could creatively utilise this film in episode form. Oh, and great film quality also:

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Cheap Look Ads

I really cannot stand these style of ads Google have developed particularly when they are found right in the centre of vision across the middle of the site page. They lack design style and look cheap to me and definitely 'add on'. I'm actually surprised Google ran with these. They're like a 90's flashback for me (italics mine):

Trading Cards
Check out our list of huge range of of trading cards. Visit now

The lament of the external staffer

Many business hire freelancers and consultants. Many hire part-time staff. Many of these work at distance.

One of the problems 'at distance' workers experience is not being treated as part of the fold. Now, for most this isn't a problem unto itself. Many freelancers are so used to being independent you come to enjoy it and you're more than happy to do without the occasional lunch spread or morning tea festival. However, one should not be invisible to management when it comes to feedback.

No situation should ever exist of in-house staff being celebrated for tasks that external staff also do; but the latter group are ignored.

Management also needs to recognise that in-house staff wind up knowing about each other's lives and this can generate empathy and greater tolerance. I regularly observe a manager giving grace to an in-house staffer, and happy to give that grace, but then become tight and annoyed when an external employee needs time off. If managers want to develop strong bonds with external staff they need to look at what they provide to internal staff and see exactly the same is offered to those external. Dare to think creative and, [I added this later] socially sustainable.

Tis the season...

Yes I'm a critic of the Lovemark concept as it applies across all sectors of the populace. I don't agree that people on low incomes seek mystery, sensuality and intimacy from their shopping experiences as such. Sometimes yes but all the time, no.
That said, I did nominate the Salvation Army.

In my letterbox today came a flyer describing some of the items the Sallies would welcome distributing to people for Christmas. There was a stock array of food items: puddings, jelly, soft drinks, cereals, tinned foods and meats, longlife milks and custard and so on; christmas crackers.

There was also a list I'd like to offer here:

Disposable Razors
Children's story books
Teenage story books

When you are next at the supermarket might I encourage you to select one or all of the toiletry items and take them to your local Salvation Army Office or similar charity who offer such items to families at Christmas. I always find discount stories have a decent array of kids books.

No preaching, just if you'd like to.

K-Mart here also has a Christmas tree at stores where wrapped gifts for people can be left. You choose a tag from the tree and buy a gift to suit the age group and gender.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ad Content and Social Responsibility

Sadly I did not retain a copy of my post however it was "interesting" to have a post of mine on this topic removed from a marketing company site recently. Perhaps one of the examples I offered touched a sore spot? Perhaps the potential of any kind of critique of advertising was a no-go area.

I think it a shame when corporations commence blogs (fashionable to do so?) and then shy away like frightened horses from the most conservative of critiques. If that's the way they want to run their blogs I suggest they make them staff only or invitation only.

The points I raised in the post were:

a) How could individual advertisers make such incredible social gaffes at times - indicating a lack of research and social knowledge savvy (being 'out of touch'), and

b) Should marketing companies strive to include social responsibility within their corporate philosophy and in all the ads they compose?

I gave two examples. One was an ad when a woman hops out of her car and punches a guy in the nose in the car behind her. I don't find that ad funny but concede it was the sort of humour appreciated in the 50's (I Love Lucy). However, in an era of road rage and some very sad events arising from this social problem, should an agency steer away from using any violent actions such as the one I described, in their campaigns?

I believe "yes".

Friday, November 9, 2007

Bouquets to a lady called Lisa...

Some time ago I spoke on Kevin's blog about issues to do with service and response to product or service flaws. I had bought two DVD's on two occasions from the same major retailer and twice had to go back because they had put the wrong disks in the packs.

From that very same retailer I bought a packaged DVD set.There was usual blurb on the case about content in the episodes (including guest appearances) and indeed certain images were imprinted on the disks themselves. However, in viewing the disks it became obvious that certain content was missing. I didn't have the wrong disks: content was simply missing.

I personally went to the store and discussed this. My name and number were taken. Nothing. I was again in the store and raised this. THIS time one of the staff did call the distributor but rang me later the same day to say they (retailer) could do nothing about the issue (vis it's not our fault so we can't do more than this). I rang the distributor myself and wound up with a branch of the distributor and a lady called "Lisa".

Lisa was aware I wasn't seeking my money back and that I was simply trying to advise about a problem issue. We discussed the nature of the problem and I was offered two new DVD's gratis for having been "disappointed" with my purchase.

I mean...YAYYYYYYYYYYY. NOT for the freebies per se but because of the RESPONSE.

In these times of such focus being placed on service and connection, I rarely am given the kind of response Lisa offered me. That response shouldn't be a rarity in my life.

Oh, and why do I go to that retailer in the face of my disappointment? Because I am pressed for certain choice where I am. If I locate a suitable alternative I will move on.

Image of roses from http://www.rogersroses.com/

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The "Conversation Economy" according to Armano

I came across this article from Business Week and thoroughly enjoyed the sense making of it. I could relate to this piece because David's comments make sense of my own focus on 'village' and my belief that 'village' is what people seek and long for (and naturally gravitate towards).

His comments about Bud interface with repeated comments I have made this past 12 month about the hundreds of thousands of dollars corporations are pouring into the technical sides of sites without anything outlaid on understanding how people use sites, read them, respond to them and so on. I simply do not understand this imbalance.

I have written a book on social life online (or rather a slice of life online) and there is a wealth of literature that can readily inform corporations on the very matters I outline - yet............................

David's article can be found @ http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/content/apr2007/id20070409_372598.htm
Image of David copyright of that site.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Grow One for Movember! Sponsor?

Here in Australia (and hopefully throughout the world) men's health issues are becoming as well known and profiled as women's health. Movember is a simple and fun way to raise funds for Prostrate Cancer Research and to support beyondblue and issues of male depression.
Depression is a highly problematic societal health issue and suicide rates in the male population are so terribly high.
My son is participating in Movember and would welcome sponsorship. He is in a workplace team and their employer will match dollar for dollar to $2K:
Moustache image from http://moustache-enthusiast.deviantart.com/art/Moustache-Avatar-Pack-36004227